Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/01/16 – 558 – Jesus’ Return To Israel
Yesterday we read about Simeon, an old man in the temple who asked only one thing of God – the he be allowed to see the promised Messiah before he died. The moment he saw Jesus, the Spirit spoke to him and he knew who Jesus was, and declared it readily. He went on to dedicate and bless the baby – and make a pretty good prediction about Him as well.
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
We aren’t quite sure who Anna was either except for what the text says here. I’m not even sure whether she was moved by the Spirit herself or whether she was just believing in what Simeon had said. Either way, she accepted and believed – and began to tell others. You could probably call her the first evangelist!
So why is Luke bothering to give us all this background on Simeon and Anna? I believe he wants us to see that God’s message as much as God’s message is given to the whole world, it is only received by those that are ready and willing to accept it. For example, I can broadcast a radio signal around the globe, but only those people with their radios turned on and tuned to the right frequency will be able to hear my message.
How many of us have our radios turned on, even tuned to the right station, but have so much noise in our lives that we couldn’t hear God if He stepped on our house? By noise I mean real noise – constant music, TV, video games, cell phones, social media etc, plus busy-ness – just always caught up in a hundred little things that really mean nothing in the grand scheme, but make us somehow feel important.
We need to stop. We need to stop being afraid of the quiet, and just stop the noise. Take time to talk to God, and listen for His voice. He has already spoken to you in many ways. He has spoken through scripture. He has spoken through pastors, other Christian (wise) counsel. Just remember the Bible is always the acid test. Any time you think God is telling you something, check to see if it conflicts with the text. If it does, the voice you’re hearing is not from God. Run from it.
It will be tempting. It will sound nice. It will probably be something you want to do anyway, Run from it anyway. You will thank yourself (and God) later. I promise. Try it now. Turn off the TV and the phone. Ask God about the big questions in your life right now. Job? Relationship? Find the relevant scripture. If you need help, call your pastor, or contact me. Then, stay tuned.